Favorite Book of the Year

It’s no secret that things have been a bit crazy here in Klaskyville — I have a book coming out in a week, and a different book coming out in three weeks, and yet another different book coming out in five weeks.  I’m editing a fourth book and writing a fifth book — and that’s just the writing stuff that’s going on! (In addition, there’s the usual mix of family and friends and Smithsonian classes and cultural activities and, and, and…)

In recognition of the generally high level of crazy, I decided not to tackle any of the truly challenging books on my to-be-read shelf.  You know–the big fat fantasies that are nearly 1000 pages long that would take me more than a month to read under *good* circumstances.  Or the slender volume of literature that is crafted, word by word, like a 50,000-word poem.  Or the Deep and Meaningful Issues Book that will leave me in tears for day.

Instead, I decided to use this crazy time to read through the “shrug” books.  Those are the ones that I picked up for one reason or another — usually at conference, or because I had a book event with the author.  I didn’t know before the book was in my hand that I was interested in it. And, alas, I often discover that I’m *not* interested in it — I was inspired by the moment, but I’m not the right reader for that particular book.  Most shrug books get donated to the library within 50 pages.  Some get donated within 25.

I didn’t-read two books on my shrug list.  And then I picked up Linda Grimes’ first book, IN A FIX.

And, reader, I fell in love.

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IN A FIX is a light urban fantasy (not my favorite genre by a long shot) narrated by Ciel Hannigan, a human “adaptor”, a chameleon sort of person who can take on the aura of any person she’s touched, so that she looks and sounds like that person.  Ciel hires herself out to people who’d rather not be present for one reason or another.  When an easy gig results in a beach cabana being destroyed around her, Ciel is in a fix.  This book made me — literally — laugh out loud multiple times.  I loved, loved, loved the supporting characters, including the three alpha males who think they can run Ciel’s life.  This book reminded me of early Sue Grafton, but the romance is a *lot* hotter than anything Kinsey Milhone ever tripped through.

I bought the second book immediately after finishing the first.

So?  What about you?  Any fun spring reads filling your days?

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Happy Bookday, Daughters of the Nile!

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One of my closest writer-friends is celebrating a book release today!  Stephanie Dray’s DAUGHTERS OF THE NILE is one of the books I’ve most been looking forward to reading this year!  It’s the third (and last) in her series about Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of the Cleopatra from Elizabeth Taylor/Shakespeare’s play/other sources fame.  I loved, loved, loved the first two books in this series — true historical women’s fiction, with tons of historical research and just a touch of magic.  You can read more about this incredible book below!

* * *

From critically acclaimed historical fantasy author, Stephanie Dray comes the long-awaited new tale based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter.

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty. With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind. Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?

Read the Reviews

“A stirring story of a proud, beautiful, intelligent woman whom a 21st century reader can empathize with. Dray’s crisp, lush prose brings Selene and her world to life.” ~RT Book Reviews

“The boldest, and most brilliant story arc Dray has penned…” ~Modge Podge Reviews

“If you love historical fiction and magical realism, these books are for you.” ~A Bookish Affair

Read an Excerpt

Below me, six black Egyptian cobras dance on their tails, swaying. I watch their scaled hoods spread wide like the uraeus on the crown of Egypt. Even from this height, I’m paralyzed by the sight of the asps, their forked tongues flickering out between deadly fangs. I don’t notice that I’m gripping the balustrade until my knuckles have gone white, all my effort concentrated upon not swooning and falling to my death.

And I would swoon if I were not so filled with rage. Someone has arranged for this. Someone who knows what haunts me. Someone who wants to send me a message and make this occasion a moment of dread. My husband, the king must know it, for he calls down, “That’s enough. We’ve seen enough of the snake charmer!”

There is commotion below, some upset at having displeased us. Then Chryssa hisses, “Who could think it a good idea to honor the daughter of Cleopatra by coaxing asps from baskets of figs?”

The story the world tells of my mother’s suicide is that she cheated the emperor of his conquest by plunging her hand into a basket where a venomous serpent lay in wait. A legend only, some say, for the serpent was never found. But I was there. I brought her that basket. She was the one bitten but the poison lingers in my blood to this day. I can still remember the scent of figs in my nostrils, lush and sweet. The dark god Anubis was embroidered into the woven reeds of the basket, the weight of death heavy in my arms. I can still see my mother reach her hand into that basket, surrendering her life so that her children might go on without her. And I have gone on without her.

I have survived too much to be terrorized by the emperor’s agents or whoever else is responsible for this.

If it is a message, a warning from my enemies, I have already allowed them too much of a victory by showing any reaction at all. So I adopt as serene a mask as possible. My daughter blinks her big blue eyes, seeing past my facade. “Are you frightened, Mother? They cannot bite us from there. The snakes are very far away.”

I get my legs under me, bitterness on my tongue. “Oh, but they’re never far enough away.”

###

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Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

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Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Stephanie-Dray-Headshot-smallerSTEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling, multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has-to the consternation of her devoted husband-collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

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Interview w/ Maria V. Snyder — Plus Giveaway!

Years ago, I attended my first Book Expo America, in New York City.  I was new and nervous and overwhelmed, and I felt totally, completely out of place.  My editor introduced me to another Harlequin writer, who immediately put me at ease.  (Maybe that was because she said she’d read and loved my Glasswrights Series…)  Little did I know that Maria V. Snyder was going to become one of my closest writing friends!

In the intervening years, we’ve attended many writing retreats together.  I’ve stayed at her house, and she’s stayed at mine.  We’ve brainstormed book ideas together, and we’ve agreed that neither of us could ever, ever write using the other’s methods :-)

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Maria has a new book out — STORM WATCHER.  Here’s a summary of the book’s plot:

Luke Riley is lost. His mother’s recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke’s mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother’s death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke’s spirits. He would rather have a different breed – a petite Papillon, but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.

When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean’s daughter, Megan and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?

I’m the lucky owner of an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of STORM WATCHER and I’m going to give it away to one lucky commenter on this post.  Everyone who comments between now and noon on November 20 is eligible — I’ll draw one winner at random.

And those of you who aren’t lucky enough to win the ARC?  Go buy the book.  It’s wonderful!

* * *
1.     You’ve written books for adults and for young adults, STORM WATCHER is written for a younger audience.  What made you reach out to this new group of readers?  And which age group do you prefer writing for?

There are two reasons I wrote for a younger audience.  At the time I wrote STORM WATCHER my son was younger and my other books were aimed for older readers. I wanted to write a story my son could read and enjoy.  I also did not include fantasy or science fiction elements because he didn’t like reading those genres (I blame his father).  Trying something different was the other reason I reached out to the younger group. I’ve never written a book from a male POV or a book that didn’t have magic or futuristic technology and I enjoy challenging myself.  I don’t have a preference for any age group.  The story idea drives which age group I’m going to target.

2.     How is it different writing for middle grade readers, as opposed to adults or older kids?  There’s a trend in a lot of books written for younger readers to address “dark” characters, or themes, or plots.  Where do you think the line should be?  Are there topics you wouldn’t write about for middle grade readers?

A few of the things I kept in mind while writing for middle-grade readers is my word choice and keeping the chapters short.  Not that I “dumbed” down my prose, but I avoid more complicated words.  I always remember when my daughter was in fourth grade and her teacher taught her how to pick a book that’s at the right reading level for her.  The teacher said to read the first page and if there are  over five words you didn’t understand, then the book was too difficult, but if there were less than three words, then it was too easy. That made sense to me and I tried to keep that in mind as I wrote.  I also think shorter chapters makes the story move faster and I had fun coming up with titles for each chapter.

As for “dark” themes, I don’t think there needs to be a line drawn. The hard part with younger readers is not all of them are at the same reading level even though they’re the same age. One reader might be upset over a darker theme, while another has no trouble understanding it. This is where parents come in.  They know their child best and can steer them toward appropriate reading material.  Teachers also know their students strengths and weaknesses and can help guide them as well.  As a writer, there are certain topics (sex, drugs, and violence) I wouldn’t use for middle-grade readers, not because I think they can’t handle them, but because I’ve no interest in exploring them.

3.     Your other books have all focused on female characters (although we’ve certainly met fascinating male characters in them!)  What made you decide to write about a boy, Luke?  Could you have told the same story with a heroine, instead?

Since this book was written for my son, Luke, it made sense to name the protagonist after him.  Although I should be clear that the character is not my Luke since he loves cats (I blame his father), he’s the annoying older brother, and, obviously I’m still alive ;) .  I could have written the book from a female POV, but not only did I want to try something different, but there are plenty of middle-grade books with heroines.  I’ve heard countless youth librarians complain that there aren’t enough books for boys that don’t have sports in them.  Well, here you go :-)

4.     In STORM WATCHER, the characters know a lot about the weather, and about search and rescue operations (among other areas of expertise.)  Do you have a background in these fields?  In general, how do you research real-world things for your novels?

As a matter of fact, I do have a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology and all the weather details are accurate and from my years as a working meteorologist.  However, I don’t have a search and rescue (SAR) dog and I needed to do research to understand what’s involved with SAR.  For this story, I read a number of books, surfed the internet, and talked to the people involved in the Red Rose Rescue, a local SAR organization.  I’d like to write a book from Luke’s friend Megan’s POV as she trains her dog to be a SAR dog.  If I do, I’d go more in depth and hopefully be allowed to tag along during a rescue.

In general, I try to do as much hands on research as possible either by taking classes or talking to experts.  Books can only tell you so much and there’s nothing like experiencing it first hand in order to translate it for the reader.

5.     Luke has two brothers in STORM WATCHER, and his interactions with them feel very realistic.  Did you base Luke’s siblings on relatives of your own?  If not, how did you get that true tone for the book?

I grew up with one older sister and no brothers so it wasn’t from my experience.  However, watching my son and daughter as they grew helped me get the right sibling tone.  They’d play together so nice, then bicker and fight, claiming they hated each other all within minutes.

6.     Luke has some fears and anxieties that challenge his ability to live his daily life.  Have you ever needed to confront similar challenges in your life?  If so, how did you find the strength to overcome the challenges?

When I was younger, I was terrified of thunderstorms. The noise scared me and whenever a storm blew in, I’d crawl into bed with my parents.  Needless to say, they weren’t happy to have their sleep interrupted, and I was constantly worried a storm would come when I wasn’t home or at school.  You know the old adage that you need to face your fears?  Well, it my case it worked.  One afternoon, my dad and I walked to a nearby store to pick up a few things. On the way home, it thunder stormed.  We huddled under the awning over someone’s front door as it poured.  Lightning flashed nearby and thunder cracked right above our heads. When the storm slowed, we ran back to our house.  Well, the next time it thunderstorm it was at night and I was already in bed.  That time the storm didn’t seem so scary.  After all, I was safe and dry. I sweated out the storm alone and my fear eventually turned into a fascination with storms.

7.     A lot of people consider themselves to be dog people or cat people.  Which are you?  And why did you choose to focus on the breeds you wrote about in STORM WATCHER?

To be honest, I’m a dog person.  I love dogs!  I love my Kitty cat, too – he’s just…different (I’m still not sure if he likes me for me or because I’m the one who opens his cans).  As for the breeds in the story, I knew Luke’s dad would be a SAR volunteer and there are only a few breeds that are typically used for SAR—Bloodhounds and German Shepherds.  I wanted Luke to go against tradition and be willing to try something new so I thought, “What would be the complete opposite of a Bloodhound?”  A Papillon!  Plus they’re beautiful dogs and I would love to own one – too bad I’ve developed allergies to dogs over the years :-(

8.     STORM WATCHER was published by the small press, Leap Books.  What made you choose to work with them, instead of your usual publisher, Harlequin?  What has it been like, launching a book outside of a major publisher?

Harlequin doesn’t publish middle grade stories so they weren’t interested.  I’d tried to get this story published with a major publisher back when I’d wrote it, but no one was interested at the time.  Editors kept telling me they wanted a heroine and fantasy elements, but I wasn’t willing to change the story so I waited.  Leap Books is owned by a friend of mine who was in my critique group years ago.  I contacted her about the story and she liked it.  I made considerable revisions to improve the story and update it.  When I’d first wrote it, hardly anyone had cell phones.

I’m enjoying working with Leap Books because I’m a part of the entire process.  With a major publisher, I’m in charge of the story and revisions, but the cover art, format, price, etc… are all out of my hands. There have been a few glitches, but overall I’m happy with the way the book turned out.

9.     What were some of your favorite books when you were a middle grade reader?  Do you think those books affected the way you wrote STORM WATCHER?

When I was younger there weren’t many middle grade novels.  My mother tried to get me interested in the Bobbsey Twins, but I only read one book.  My favorite books were Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys – I loved the mysteries and danger.  I don’t think they affected STORM WATCHER too much, but they certainly affected the rest of my books.  All my stories have a mystery element and my characters always get into dangerous situations.

10.  What’s up next?  What books are you working on, and what will we find next for our to-be-read lists?

My next book will be published on December 31 and it’s called TASTE OF DARKNESS.  It’s the third book in my Healer series about a healer who can take on a person’s injuries and then heal herself.  The first book in this series is TOUCH OF POWER and your readers can read the first chapter here: http://www.mariavsnyder.com/books/top.php if they’d like.

Currently I’m working on another book in my Study series.  My Study books, POISON STUDY, MAGIC STUDY, and FIRE STUDY feature Yelena and Valek, two characters that my readers LOVE.  They’ve been bugging me to write more Study books for years so now I’m finally writing more.  That’s tentatively scheduled for January 1, 2015, with two more due out in 9 month increments.

Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog, Mindy! If your readers would like more info about me and my books, I have the first chapter of all my books on my website as well as a number of free short stories they can read.  Here’s the link: http://www.mariavsnyder.com.  And my blog is: http://officialmariavsnyder.blogspot.com

Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mvsfans  and Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/maria_v_snyder

Links to buy STORM WATCHER:  Leap Books | Amazon.com

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Was That a Weekend?

Wow.  Yet another weekend has mugged us — I can’t believe that three days blew by so quickly!

Suffice to say, I got some reading done, and some writing-organizing.  I fiddled with print editions of FRIGHT COURT and CAPITOL MAGIC (should be out around Halloween…), and I poked at the Diamond Brides romance series.

I finished reading Jessica Scott’s BECAUSE OF YOU (hot military romance, and a recent USA Today Bestseller – go, Jessica!), and I started reading Anna Kendall’s CROSSING OVER.  (Anna Kendall is actually Nancy Kress — I’ve had this book on my to-be-read list for a long time, but I’m just getting to it.  And it’s good, and thought-provoking, and a lot darker than I expected, even though Nancy said it was dark!)

I watched a *lot* of baseball (including the Nationals’ longest game ever (time-wise) which was tied-for-longest-game-ever, inning-wise.  They won, which almost made it all worthwhile.

I watched the movie PROMISED LAND, which wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.  And I watched the latest installments of BREAKING BAD and THE NEWSROOM, both of which feel strange, because I’ve gotten used to power-watching multiple episodes of shows at a time.

I’m working on a new knitting project, a gift for a friend, using an easy pattern that doesn’t take a lot of concentration.  (It’s also quite forgiving; a few mis-stitched stitches don’t even show up!)

And I ate a ridiculous amount of food, without doing any cooking.  In a tragedy for my waistline, I discovered that the really good pizza place down the road *delivers* — not just pizza, but “cheesecake truffles” for dessert.  My life might never be the same…

I did some gardening, digging out the liriope that succumbed to crown rot.  (Sigh…)  Let’s just say that it’s a lot easier to dig out liriope with an appropriate tool.  And a trowel is not an appropriate tool.  (But a shovel, borrowed from a neighbor, is.)

This morning, I took my poor car into the body shop, to have its front bumper replaced.  (For those who missed the drama, someone hit-and-runned the car, cracking the bumper and taking the air grille on the right side.)  The shop was very easy to work with, and I hope the repairs will be done soon.  I have a rental car (covered by my insurance) until the operation is done.

And that’s life in Klaskyville.  How was your weekend?

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Happy Book Birthday, Jim C. Hines

In the great struggle of life, we librarians have to stick together.  And by “we”, I mean me and Jim C. Hines’s most recent hero — Isaac Vainio.  Jim introduced us to Isaac in LIBRIOMANCER.  Isaac works magic by “reaching” into books; he can pull fictional items into the real world and use them to his magical advantage.  I read LIBRIOMANCER in draft, and I really enjoyed it.

But I LOVED the sequel, CODEX BORN.

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Jim has taken all the things that were great about LIBRIOMANCER — fun references to genre books (conveniently summarized for those of us who haven’t read every single book under the sun), likable characters, a quick-moving plot — and raised the stakes by about a thousand.

CODEX BORN uses a second narrator at the beginning of each chapter — we’re treated to the diaries of Lena, a dryad who has a disturbing magical past.  Lena’s recollections *made* this book for me — I love her voice, and the matter of fact way that she presents all the ways that she’s the same as we are and different from us.  I understand that CODEX was originally going to be narrated by Lena — and I’d still love to see that book.

The final chapter of CODEX (no, I’m not going to spoil it for you) actually left me with a real, physical chill.

So?  What are you waiting for?  The book is in stores as of today!

CODEX BORN, by Jim C. Hines. [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]

 

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D.B. Jackson’s THIEVES’ QUARRY

Lots of authors go by multiple names.  Case in point — David B. Coe and D.B. Jackson.  David is my friend, a person I first met online, then met in real life — we’ve shared long, heartfelt discussions about writing, reading, Indian food…  You know — all the important things in life.

D.B. Jackson is David’s alter-ego.  D.B. writes urban fantasy novels — but they’re not like any urban fantasy novels you’ve read before.  I’d tell you more, but D.B. says it better himself.  So, without further ado….

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In less than a week, on July 2, the second book in my Thieftaker Chronicles, Thieves’ Quarry, will be released by Tor Books.  The Thieftaker books are historical urban fantasies.  My hero, Ethan Kaille, is a conjurer and thieftaker (sort of an 18th century private investigator) living in Boston in the 1760s, as the North American colonies are beginning to chafe at British rule.  Each book is a stand-alone mystery and each takes place against the backdrop of some key event leading to the Revolution.  The first book in the series, Thieftaker, was set during the Stamp Act riots of 1765.  Thieves’ Quarry takes place in the autumn of 1768, as the British are about to begin their military occupation of the city.

As the release date for the book approaches, I find myself writing a lot of blog posts and discussing the Thieftaker novels at length in interviews.  Most of the time, people want to hear about the historical elements of the stories, or the novelty of combining mystery with fantasy.  And that’s great.  I like talking about that stuff.  But I also love to discuss magic systems, and how I go about creating them.  So when Mindy suggested that her readers might be interested in hearing about that as well, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity.

As I developed the magic system for the Thieftaker series, I tried to find a balance between following a set of old rules and bringing an innovative approach to conjuring.  The result is a form of magic that is powerful enough to make for interesting plot points, but limited enough to ensure that my protagonist will have to rely as much on his wits as on his magic.

I began with what I believe to be the three ironclad laws of creating magic systems.  Obviously, if your magic systems don’t follow these guidelines, that’s okay; these are my laws.  But in my mind they are crucial, no matter the world for which I’m creating my system.

First, my magic follows a set of rules that remains consistent throughout the book.  My goal in creating a magic system is to come up with something that feels as real and natural and rooted in the world I’ve created as a natural law of our own world.  I want my magic to seem as irrevocable and constant as the law of gravity.  As soon as the rules of magic begin to shift or soften according to narrative needs, the magic ceases to be a realistic part of the worldbuilding and becomes instead a plot device, and a transparent one at that.

Second, my magic is limited in scope and power.  Magic that can do anything and everything, that can’t be defeated, is destined to take over a story or series.  At least that has been my experience.  By placing limits on what my magic can do, I force my characters who have magic to rely as much on their intelligence and physical skills as they do their spells.  In my opinion, that makes for more interesting characters and storytelling.  So Ethan can only cast so many spells before he begins to tire and weaken.  His spells can do some pretty cool stuff — among other things, he can heal wounds, he can change the shape of matter, he can move unseen among those who do not have magic — but he can’t, say, make himself fly or move through time.  Magic is a tool, even a weapon at times.  But it is not all powerful.

And third, the use of magic in my world exacts some cost.  As I mentioned before, the casting of spells takes a physical toll.  But more than that, each spell Ethan casts has to be fueled by something.  The simplest spells can be fueled by the elements — water, air, earth, fire — but more complicated magic demands blood or something else from a living organism.  And the most powerful and complex spells can require the taking of a life.  Finally, as Ethan learns during the course of THIEFTAKER, spells can carry emotional costs as well.

After establishing the framework for my magic system with these guidelines in mind, I could then turn to the fun part of creating a magic system:  Mixing it in with my other narrative elements — setting, character, and plot.

My primary goal in creating a conjuring system for the Thieftaker books was to come up with something that was not only cool, but that also blended well with my colonial setting.  Of course there were (as far as history can tell us) no conjurers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.  But there were witch scares, the most famous of which, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, led to the imprisonment of 150 “witches” and the execution of twenty men and women.

I wanted my hero to face the possibility of persecution for his conjuring, because I knew that would add tension to the novel, and so I created a magic system that could be confused with witchcraft by people of the time.  Ethan’s magic appears to the unsuspecting to come out of nowhere; he doesn’t need a magical stone or a staff or any other physical tool to conjure, although for some spells he does need to spill his own blood.  But that only adds to the whole “dabbling in the black arts” feel of the magic.  He also has to commune with the ghost of one of his magical ancestors, who gives him access to the power laden realm between the world of the living and the domain of the dead.  Once more, the notion of “communing with spirits” plays on images of witchcraft that show up in seventeenth and eighteenth century texts.  So, while in my version of 1760s Boston there is no such thing as witchcraft, conjurers are constantly being accused of being witches, and Ethan lives in fear of being hanged as a witch.

In this way, I was able to create a magic system for the Thieftaker Chronicles that would not undermine my efforts to make the books feel historically authentic, but rather would reinforce those historical elements. The magic — and the fear it provokes from the people of Colonial Boston — also deepens Ethan’s character by making his ability to cast spells, which is the source of his strength, potentially his greatest weakness as well.  And the magic system serves as a never-ending source of plot points.  In other words, it blends with those key narrative elements I mentioned before:  Setting, character, and plot.  And I also think that it’s pretty cool.  As I writer, I really can’t ask for more than that.

*****

D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first book as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasy, Thieftaker, volume I of the Thieftaker Chronicles, came out in 2012 and will soon be available in paperback. The second volume, Thieves’ Quarry, will be released on July 2, just in time for the July 4th holiday. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

You can find D.B. online just about everywhere:

http://www.dbjackson-author.com
http://www.dbjackson-author.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/dbjacksonAuthor
http://twitter.com/dbjacksonauthor
http://www.goodreads.com/dbjackson
http://amazon.com/author/dbjackson

You can order your copy of THIEVES’ QUARRY today at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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